Today was definitely a difficult day for Williams. The qualifying for the Hungarian GP seen an unusual sight of George Russell not being able to get out of Q1, for the first time during the 2021 season, which came as a surprise to many. With Latifi not being able to put together a decent lap himself, the session finished with both of the drivers being stuck this time in the furthest 5 of the grid, in the 17th and 18th position, which is definitely not promising for tomorrows’ race.
Not our day today as both cars are out in Q1. We'll be working hard now to get set for tomorrow 👊 pic.twitter.com/jDf0CiPZh5— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) July 31, 2021
With the track conditions ramped up even more than the usual Hungarian heatwave, and the air and track temperatures bordering on the highest ever when it came to the race weekend that takes place at Hungaroring since 1986, the situation was more difficult than most would’ve expected. Surely, Williams has been one of them.
When asked about how much of a factor were these high temperatures on the track evolution and the improvement of the cars during the session, Dave Robson, the Senior Race Engineer at Williams F1 said to select media, including MotorLat.com: “It’s definitely a factor. We were hopeful it’s going to stay on the cold side, relatively cold this afternoon, but it didn’t, the clouds obviously broke and it is just as hot this afternoon in qualifying as it has been yesterday.
“It is very hot, the reported track temperatures are incredibly high, it is similar to what it was the last couple of years in Malaysia after they resurfaced it.
“So that does make it tough, but that’s the same for everyone, so we can’t use that as any kind of excuse. I think the tyres did behave in those conditions not quite as we expected, there was a lot more understeer so the front tyres seemed to be affected more than we’ve expected.
“But to be fair from what I could gather from what all the drivers were saying on the radio yesterday most teams seem to struggle the same, so nothing unusual for us, but we definitely struggled more I think this afternoon than we have done this morning.”
During his final lap, Russell seemed to go deep at Turn 2 and run wide at the exit of the turn 6/7 chicane, which eventually led him to not being able to get out of Q1. Even though Latifi set a personal best during his final Q1 lap, it only got him 18th spot, just ahead of Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher from Haas, with the latter not taking part in the qualifying session due to his crash during FP3.
Although hot and Hungarian GP are two words that come in the same sentence every year, this year we’ve definitely seem the teams struggle more than before. With the weather forecast expecting even higher temperatures for the Sundays race, the strategy and choice of tyres as well as their behaviour during the race will definitely play a major role in who will take the 1st place home before we head out into the summer break.